Dash Cam Parking Surveillance Mode Guide

Straight out of the box, Dash Cams plug directly into the cigarette lighter/accessory socket of your car. When you start your car engine, the Dash Cam will automatically power on and start recording. When you turn off your car engine, the Dash Cam will automatically power down and stop recording. But what if you want to keep the Dash Cam recording after you turn off your engine, say for example while parked at the train station, or in a shopping center carpark? You need a feature called Parking Surveillance Mode.

What is Parking Surveillance Mode?

Parking Surveillance mode is a feature of most higher end Dash Cams. It allows the Dash Cam to record video footage while you are away from your car.

This feature can enable you to capture things occurring to or around your car.

The footage can record hit and run drivers, trolley incidents or deliberate/malicious damage while away from your vehicle. If a license plate is picked up in the footage, the offending driver can be tracked down for insurance purposes and shown to police. Hit and run drivers (that don’t leave any authentic details) can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Tracking down a hit and run driver can also assist you with making an insurance claim and could avoid paying your excess. The saving on excess pretty much pays for the Dash Cam and you also can protect your no claim bonus.

How does Parking Surveillance Mode work?

Once Parking Mode activates, the Dash Cam will record and save video files when triggered by either motion or impact (model dependant).

Different Dash Cam brands and models save different video file lengths but they are generally short, around 1 minute long, to conserve both memory card space and car battery power. For example, if 2 people are talking in front of your car for 5 minutes, you will probably see 5 x 1 minute files saved. If a car drives past your car for 5 seconds, the Dash Cam will still save a 1 minute file.

When no motion or impact is detected, the Dash Cam goes into standby mode and stops recording. Video is only recorded once triggered by motion or impact. Parking Surveillance mode generally operates this way to conserve memory card space and car battery power. If the Dash Cam records constantly in Parking Mode, there would be a chance that important incident files could be overwritten while you are away. The car battery would also drain faster reducing the length of recording time. There is no point recording dead air.

Some Dash Cams have an additional time-lapse recording feature in Parking Mode. Time lapse mode can be used to save alot of SD card storage space when parked in a very busy area or parked for days on end. It generally operates by continuously recording footage at around 1 frame per second (model dependent), therefore 7 minutes of footage can be reviewed in 30 seconds.

The best Parking Mode Dash Cams have Pre-Buffered Recordings whereby the camera will record a short amount of footage before a motion or impact trigger occurs. This helps to capture more of the lead up to an incident. We prefer Dash Cams with pre-buffered parking mode recording as they reduce the risk of missing important lead up footage.

The BlackSys CH-200 Dash Cam has the best parking mode features and customization we have seen. In addition to pre-buffered motion & impact detection, it also has a time-lapse feature for parked recording. Time-lapse recording is continuous but at a lower frame rate. The BlackVue DR750S range also has pre-buffered motion & impact detection but no time-lapse option.

This video provides a rundown of how a good Parking Mode Dash Cam like the BlackSys CH-200 operates when hardwired with the BlackSys hardwire cable:


Does Parking Surveillance Mode automatically turn on and off?

Not in all Dash Cams.

Ensure that the Parking Mode feature of your chosen Dash Cam is automatically activated when you park and automatically deactivated when you re-start your car. Automatic Parking Mode genrally operates in conjunction with the Dash Cam’s inbuilt G-sensor. The Dash Cam G-sensor knows when your car has been stationary for a set time and automatically switches to Parking Mode recording. Likewise, when you re-enter your car and start driving again, the G-sensor knows you are moving again and automatically switches back to continuous recording.

In order for this to work correctly, G-sensor must be ON before parking.

Some Dash Cams only have manual Parking Mode activation, which can be annoying for some users. Everytime you leave and re-enter your car you need to remember to turn Parking Mode on and off in the menu. Always safer to go for a Dash Cam with automatic activation.

Do I need any accessories to run Parking Surveillance Mode?

Yes. You need to purchase either a hardwire kit or an external battery pack to power your Dash Cam in Parking Mode.


Hardwire kits are Battery Discharge Prevention Devices.  They have two functions:

  1. They provide power to the Dash Cam when the car engine is off. They draw power from the car battery through the fusebox and supply it to the Dash Cam.
  2. They are essential to stop your car battery from draining and requiring a jump-start. Hardwire kits monitor your car battery voltage and when the pre-set low voltage cut off point has been detected, it will cut power permanently to Dash Cam and stop recording. Power to the Dash Cam resumes when you restart your car.

Some cars have a continuously powered cigarette lighter socket that continues to provide power to the Dash Cam when the engine is off. This is not recommended, as there is no battery voltage monitor to stop the Dash Cam from recording which could potentially drain your battery. Always use a hardwire kit with low voltage protection for Parking Mode.


The other option is an external battery pack. These packs plug into your cigarette lighter socket and charge up as you drive. When you park and turn off your engine, they provide stored battery power to the Dash Cam.

We recommend the Cellink NEO battery pack for its excellent reliability and heat resistance. Cheap battery packs are prone to swelling and leaking battery acid during hot weather. The Cellink-B can provide a Dash Cam up to 30 hours of continuous recording time when fully charged.

How long will the Dash Cam record for in Parking  Surveillance Mode?

Very difficult to answer.

Many factors have an influence on recording time such as:

Health of the car battery
Car Battery size
Your chosen low voltage cut off setting
Charged level of the car battery when you park
How busy the car park is, the more motion = more recording = more battery use 

How do I install a Hardwire Kit?

We highly recommend customers use a qualified auto electrician to correctly install their hardwire kit. The hardwires need to piggy back off specific electrical circuits in the fuse box. You don’t want to be tapping into or disconnecting the wrong/essential circuits like your safety airbag circuit or ABS brakes. If the wrong circuits are chosen, Parking Mode won’t operate correctly or your car features might not operate correctly.

A hardwire kit will always have the wires for the fusebox and a female cigarette lighter in which the Dash Cam cord plugs into.

Ask your installer to place the module somewhere discreet but accessible (like in the glovebox or passenger footwell) should you want to turn the hardwire kit off or change settings. This is handy if you park in your secure home garage and don’t need/want to record while your engine is off.

Other Considerations

Higher end hardwire kits like the Vicovation Power Plus are more reliable and very sensitive to the low voltage cut off points. The Vicocation Power Plus has extra features like a timer function whereby you can record for a pre-set time rather than wait for the low voltage cut off.

It has the highest number low voltage cut off options (7 cut off voltages to choose from) so is much more customizable to the wide range of car batteries on the market.

The Vicovation Power Plus also has extra features like over temperature protection and surge protection for additional care of your Dash Cam.

If you have any further enquiries or would like more assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on (03) 9338 8772 or info@dashcamsaustralia.com.au. We are more than happy to answer any questions or assist you with a Dash Cam recommendation.

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